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8 Things You Need to Know (But Probably Don’t)

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“The system cannot be fixed by the system.” ~Tom Morello

It is of the first order of importance to remember this: “the system cannot be fixed by the system.” It can only be fixed by the resistance of healthy, reasonable, imaginative, knowledgeable, compassionate and non-violent individuals. It can only be fixed by people who have re-conditioned their cultural conditioning, un-matrixed the Matrix, ninjaneered their statist indoctrination, and unwashed their political brainwash.

All of this despite uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, myopic tribal affiliation, and blind nationalism.

In short: the system can only be fixed by people who have dared to take a leap of courage outside the box of the system itself, and then double-dogged dared themselves to gain knowledge that undermines the unhealthy system while proactively building a healthier system.

1.) The expansion of imperial war undermines freedom:

“At the end of the cold war we could have diverted tax dollars to the quality of our lives, things like health care, education, infrastructure, eliminating poverty, and protecting against climate change. Alas, the peace dividend never happened. Why not? Because the military, and persons profiting from the military, like weapons manufacturers and their lobbyists in Congress didn’t want to. That’s why. Only 8 percent of Americans polled in 2014 wanted the United States to lead the world military. But that 8 percent won out. That’s plutocracy.” ~Ted Stanford, WWII Navy Veteran

If slavery is the opposite of freedom, then war is probably its inverse. It’s simple: human beings cannot be free when other human beings are threatening them with guns and bombs.

To the extent that guns and bombs are necessary is only in a defense-minded sense. Otherwise, the use of guns and bombs is just cold, calculated, murderous and offensive, war. It is only necessary if the Non-aggression principle has been violated and the loss of human life is at stake. Then, and only in a defensive sense, is the use of bombs and guns necessary.

The problem with war today is that it is not defense-minded but offense-minded. It is built upon an imperialist agenda and a money-making war machine that’s bolstered by a fight against phantom-terrorism that cannot be won. It seeks power and the control of natural resources, usually at the expense of innocent lives. In short: it is offensive and overreaching and not conducive to healthy and free human beings.

2.) The bloated military budget undermines freedom:

“Once weapons were manufactured to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured to sell weapons.” ~Arundhati Roy

The main reason the war machine is so offensive and overreaching is because of the bloated military budget. Exacerbated by war-profiteering companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the U.S. military is larger than the next seven militaries in the world, combined!

Let that sink in. World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of that total. If that’s not a bloated military, I don’t know what is. It’s time to scale back. It’s time to see the military industrial complex for what it really is: a terrorist generating war machine propped up by profiting weapons manufacturers.

The propaganda machine that the military industrial complex uses to convince its citizens that it needs more money is based on myopic nationalistic pride that imagines the money is going to our brave military men and women. Nothing could be further from the truth. It goes toward $200 million B-52 bombers and faulty F-35 fighter jets costing $400 billion each. Each! That is the height of insanity. Just imagine what use that money could go towards.

And yet we all just go about our day imagining that the government knows best. Meanwhile, our education system falters, our health care is being eroded, and our infrastructure crumbles. We can no longer see the error of our ways. As Noam Chomsky said, “The general population doesn’t know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.” And here we are, not even caring that we don’t know.

3.) The continual bailing out of Big Banks undermines freedom:

“The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come.” ~Matt Taibbi

Bailing out Wall Street was the ultimate bait-and-switch. It turns out that we’ve all been bamboozled. This mafia-esc, multi-layered, lie-upon-lie s***-cake goes so deep that it fooled congress twice into eating it –hook, line, and sinker. This article goes into detail about it.

The biggest problem with the bail out, other than that it has further entrenched the Too Big to Fail banking system, is that it has made lying on behalf of the most corrupt banks the official policy of the United States government.

This undermines freedom because it not only allows power to become absolute, it allows power to corrupt absolutely. There must be checks and balances on power. Especially power over people’s lives. Unchecked power tends to become tyrannical power. Tyrannical power tends to become evil. Failed systems should be allowed to fail lest failure be confused with success in some Orwellian double-spoken way.

4.) Overreaching offense-minded policing undermines freedom:

“The law is an opinion with a gun.” ~Stefan Molyneux

Healthy policing is an extension of healthy self-defense. Self-defense turned violent and overreaching is no longer about self-preservation. Similarly, policing turned violent and overreaching is no longer about protecting and serving. Violence should only ever be used in self-defense and never as a means toward enforcing one’s values, rules, or laws onto others, no matter how popular they are.

Defense-minded policing must remain a core philosophy if a police force intends to be a moral institution. The solution is not more ill-trained offense-minded police with too much power, but more well-trained defense-minded police with just enough power (a power with built-in checks and balances in place to prevent power from corrupting). In short: a complete eradication of the Thin Blue Line is in order.

The bottom line is that no single person should have as much power as a cop has. Nobody should be allowed to be judge jury and executioner in the street. To the extent that a defense-minded cop has power, it should be checked and balanced by the people who pay for the policing, first, and by other defense-minded cops, second. And all cops should be held to a higher standard precisely because of the immense power that they wield.

Until we can achieve a level of civilization where we have all evolved to a point where voluntarism and the non-aggression principle are second nature, the best alternative is defense-minded policing that doesn’t offensively overreach its power by shoving its gun down everyone’s throat.

5.) The corrupt electoral system undermines freedom:

“If you vote, you have no right to complain.” ~George Carlin

The electoral process has cemented into place a system of legalized bribery. Elections have become auctions. They are ridiculously overrated and flawed to begin with. They attract power hungry egomaniacs at best and warmongering sociopaths at worst. It’s time to usher in a new system of appointing leaders.

The problem is our choices are limited due to bi-partisan claptrap. Our decision seems to be “vote” or “not vote” which is influenced by state manipulation, cultural conditioning, and entrenched political propaganda with corrupt lobbying that creates divisiveness.

But there is a third option. We can “elect” to think outside the ballot box. We can “elect” to take money out of politics. We can “elect” to have a complete electoral system reboot. We can “elect” to implement a sortition system that lotteries-in leaders from an assembly of authentic leaders and prestigious elders and votes-out bad leaders. We can “elect” to devise a system that uses impeachment more often than it uses aggrandizement.

Indeed. We can “elect” to not elect a president at all, because we don’t need a scapegoat-puppet who is hamstrung by lobbyists, corporations, and bankers for a “leader.” We just need authentic leaders and prestigious elders –plural; chosen randomly from a competitive assembly of other authentic leaders and prestigious elders. That will get the job done just fine, while also preventing scapegoating and the rise of psychopaths.

6.) Despotic leadership undermines freedom:

The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.” ~Tom Clancy

The chain of command. The chain of obedience. Allegiance to authoritative hierarchies. Top-down leadership. These forms of “leadership” have utterly failed us as a species. They have only ever led to unhealthy rigid order – creating robots, pawns, and sheep; which has only ever led to unnecessary wars waged between robots, pawns, and sheep who never had the courage to question authority. As Mark Passio surmised, “Order followers are the people that keep the system of slavery in place.”

The chain of command isn’t even leadership. It is despotic followership. It’s grossly outdated. They don’t train followers how to become leaders, they train followers how to remain followers through rank and file. A true leader must break rank at some point in order to become such, otherwise he/she is only a “leader” by authoritarian dictate, or according to some myopic and vacuous rank.

True leaders cannot be controlled; they learn, through self-mastery, through the teachings of other leaders, from Pain and Nature, how to discipline themselves. True leaders don’t follow power; they learn how to turn the tables on power, even their own, so that power does not corrupt.

True leaders don’t kowtow to tyranny or authoritarian rule; they attempt to dismantle it, despite the “rank and order” that props it up. Therefore, a true leader is a bottom-up leader who has the courage and the wherewithal to question the despotic top-down chain of obedience.

Strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom must be thwarted. This requires courageous bottom-up leaders to throw a wrench into the machinery of the so called “chain of command.”

7.) Hoarding and shortsighted distribution undermines freedom:

“The problem with the Western world is surplus production. We’re in surplus production in almost every area. But there is a terrible distribution system where people around the globe suffer and die from starvation. This is a distribution problem, not a production problem.” ~John Ralston Saul

Extreme poverty and starvation are avoidable in this age of extreme surplus. The utter failure of our distribution system undermines freedom. It prevents people from thriving because they are expending all their vital energy on merely surviving.

If, as Harry Frankfurt said, “From the point of view of morality, it is not important that everyone should have the same. What is morally important is that each should have enough,” then it behooves us, as both reasonable and moral human beings, to make sure that we each have enough by fixing the corrupt system of distribution.

The deeper psychological problem is that we believe that our sense of worth is wrapped up in how skilled we are at something, because we were raised and conditioned in a culture that values competition over cooperation. This creates ego-centric specialists concerned only with narrow-minded one-upmanship over open-minded compassion.

But we are social creatures, first and foremost. We need each other to survive. Competition has always been secondary to cooperation; otherwise we wouldn’t have survived as a species (Darwin).

So, our worth is actually wrapped up in how much we care for each other. The problem is that we’ve had the cart (competition) in front of the horse (compassion) for too long. It’s time we got the horse back in front of the cart. This will be an arduously Herculean task, considering our cultural conditioning. But it is very important, for the survival of our species, that we get it right.

8.) Statism itself undermines freedom:

“At the core of all well-founded belief, lies belief that is unfounded.” ~Ludwig Wittgenstein

How do you know if you are a statist? You are a statist if you believe that you need a ruler to rule over you, if you believe that you require permission to be free, if you blindly worship a flag, and if you believe that violence is the answer to solving problems.

As it stands, the USA lives in an oligarchic state disguised as a democratic republic. Since a massive amount of wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, we’re unable to maintain a healthy horizontal democracy. Instead, we’re forced to deal with the snake of an unhealthy vertical democracy which has the diabolical snakehead of oligarchic plutocracy.

If we lived within a horizontal democracy, we would have a better chance at being free. No masters, no rulers, and no chance for power to become concentrated in the hands of a few. As Edward Abbey said, “Since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.” Easier said than done, sure, but as Spinoza said, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”

When it comes down to it, it’s impossible to live freely within a plutocratic state. The plutocrats will simply continue buying up power by creating oppressive laws and “legal” extortion rackets that keep the people without wealth and power in a permanent state of poverty and powerlessness. Add to that the use of lobbyists and a fiat currency based on debt, and you have a nation of hoodwinked debt slaves (soft slavery) under the delusion that they live in a free democratic republic.

It’s time to decide upon the only choice that really matters: Free human, or indoctrinated statist; uncomfortable freedom, or comfortable slavery. The choice is yours.

And if the overreaching state should continue to use violence against us, then we plant our heels deep into the ground, we lay our shields low, and we declare to the Powers That Be, as Henry David Thoreau did: “I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”


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Consciousness

10 Things You Don’t Wan’t To Know About Yourself

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“Freedom is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” ~George Orwell

Sick of all those self-affirmation articles? Tired of all the self-help gurus blowing sunshine up your skirt? Need something a little more grounding? More down-to-earth? More humbling? Here’s a fresh batch of wake-up calls and kicks-in-the-shin straight from the oven. Get it while its hot…

1.) You are an animal:

“What a chimera then is humankind. What a novelty; what a monster, what a chaos.” ~Blaise Pascal
This one is painfully obvious, but you probably need a reminder.

You are a naked ape. You are blood and bones and improbable apposable thumbs. You were born from the womb and you will one day be food for worms. In the womb, you went through all the phases of evolution: from a single-celled amoeba to a multicellular tadpole to a brain-wielding infant.

In your short life, you will piss and s*** and bleed. You will rage and cry and sleep. You will go through all the profane motions of being a mortal mammal within an amoral universe. And here’s the real kick in the teeth: it’s going to hurt like hell. Hope you have a good sense of humor, because you’re going to need it.

2.) You are fallible:

“Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.” ~W.B. Yeats

You are terribly imperfect. You will make mistakes. More so, you are mistaken about a great many things. Most of which you will probably never admit to yourself, because admitting you are wrong is one of the most difficult things a human being can do.

But it goes deeper than that. There are fallibilities within fallibilities. It’s a veritable fractal forest of fallibility. A fractal wrongness, if you will.

You are more wrong about things than you can possibly imagine, and yet you insist. You force your wrongness. You are fierce with it, ruthlessly certain with it. You are so hungry for rightness that you bludgeon the Truth with your wrongness. All the while imagining that you are right.

As it turns out, you are more likely to be right by admitting that you are probably wrong than by declaring that you are probably right.

3.) You are a hypocrite:

“You have not learned to play and mock the way a man ought to play and mock. Are we not always seated at a great table for play and mockery? Learn to laugh at yourselves as a man ought to laugh. Learn to laugh beyond yourselves, and learn to laugh well.” ~Nietzsche

You are a hypocrite by nature. By the fact that you perceive an unfathomable reality with fallible faculties. It’s not even your fault. Just the fact that you are a “you” precludes hypocrisy. The self is smoke and mirrors, masks and mayhem. More akin to a chaotic theater of actors than a single personality.

Indeed, the self is masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up. Hypocrisy was always inevitable. Merely the biproduct of a fallible self.

Amidst this mayhem of fallible selfhood, you will experience dissimulation and self-deception, dishonesty and deep pretension, inauthenticity and artificiality. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The rest is hidden beneath layer upon layer of subconscious/unconscious double-dealings, feigned sincerity, two-faced unctuousness, and the mealymouthed choruses of canting contradictions.

Your hypocrisy knows no bounds, so you might as well own up to it.

4.) You will fail:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~Samuel Beckett

Failure is a given when you are merely a fallible, hypocritical animal going through the motions of living life in an uncertain universe.

But there is wisdom hidden in failure if you are keen to it. Setbacks can be transformed into steppingstones. Tragedy can be hardwired into comedy. Catastrophe can be whittled into accomplishment. You can build a ladder out of the shattered pieces of your life and climb out of the abyss.

But guess what? You will probably fail again. The higher you climb the farther you may fall. When it comes to failure, there is always a deeper abyss. Defeat, hard luck, and utter collapse are right around the corner. Disappointment is Accomplishment’s kissing cousin. Tragedy is Triumph’s red-headed stepchild. Today’s achievement could very well be tomorrow’s tripwire. So be it. Use it all as a sharpening stone for your all-too-mortal soul.

5.) You are never not broken:

“We adore chaos because we love to produce order.” ~M.C. Escher

Wholeness does not imply perfection. It infers embracing brokenness as an essential part of being human. There is never a state in which you are not broken.
You are a walking, talking broken heart going through the motions of breaking apart and coming back together again. This also applies to the mind, the body, and the soul. You are constantly in a state of repair.

Your suffering is sufferable. What’s insufferable is your ideal of perfection. There will always be pain. There will always be heartache. There will always be existential angst. We wreck ourselves against these. Then we knock out the dents, mend the cracks, and heal the wounds. We do this in the hope that it will make us stronger. But perhaps it won’t.
The wound may or may not become a sacred wound. All you can do is hurt, heal, and hope. Hurt, heal, and hope. From fragility to robustness to antifragility, you will always be in a state of falling apart and coming back together again. Embrace it.

6.) You have a dark side:

“There are no shortcuts to wholeness. The only way to become whole is to put our arms lovingly around everything we know ourselves to be: self-serving and generous, spiteful and compassionate, cowardly and courageous, treacherous and trustworthy. We must be able to say, ‘I am all of the above.’” ~Parker J. Palmer

You have a shadow. Even your shadow has a shadow called the golden shadow. Your shadow is your repressed or unconscious self, struggling to be liberated and more conscious. Awareness is key. Becoming aware of our shadow side is shining a light into the darkness and giving our dark side permission to shine its blacklight back into the blinding light, which creates a unity of opposites.
An empowered dark side balances out the equation of the complicated human condition. Without this balance, you risk fragile one-dimensionality and a brittle ego terrified of taking responsibility for its shadow and thus fearful of the shadow of others.

You cannot fully know yourself without knowing your dark side and embracing your shadow. Such wholeness breeds wisdom and the ability to experience the full range of what it means to be human.

7.) Your beliefs limit you:

“If you adopt an idea or perception as the absolute truth, you close the door of your mind. Attachment to views, attachment to ideas, attachment to perceptions are the biggest obstacle to truth.” ~The Buddha

Your beliefs are incredibly restricting. You’ve been indoctrinated to think that you need to believe. Even worse, you’ve been brainwashed to believe more than you think.

In the battle against bewitchment, all beliefs, no matter how powerful or well-intended, are a hinderance to clear thought and self-improvement.

tter to think rather than believe. Thinking that something might be true allows for error, fallibility, and wrongness. Believing that something is certainly true cuts us off from all other possibilities. Belief is all or nothing, predicated upon faith despite facts or evidence. Thought is open-ended, taking beliefs, facts, and evidence into deep consideration and then using probability and validity to discover the truth.

More importantly, thinking rather than believing allows for skepticism and questioning. It is considered blasphemous to question a belief. Whereas questioning a thought is considered appropriate. Might as well just skip belief altogether and simply take things into thoughtful consideration.

8.) You are culturally conditioned:

“When war turns whole populations into sleepwalkers, outlaws don’t join forces with alarm clocks. Outlaws, like poets, rearrange the nightmare.” ~Tom Robbins

You are programmed to think a certain way. This programming has propped-up your identity into perceiving a particular worldview that may or may not be based in reality. It might not even be healthy. This identity tied up in your worldview is an abstraction of an abstraction, a story within a story that you’ve convinced yourself is true.

But you have the power to reprogram your programming.

We are all conditioned by culture. The key is to become aware of it and to weigh our conditioning against the truth of reality. Then recondition the conditioning. We each have our own Plato’s Cave to navigate.

The extent to which you can become aware of your own “cave” will be the extent of your flexibility, open-mindedness, and personal freedom.

9.) You know less than you think:

“Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.” ~Robert Rubin

You think you know more than you actually do. Your certainty about a great many things limits your imagination, creative thinking, and ability to question. It leads to dogmatic reasoning and close-mindedness.

ou are just so certain, aren’t you? Your certitude is so powerful that you cannot see past your beliefs. Hung up on what you’ve found, you have given up the search. Your journey has come to an end. Your certainty has led you to a dead-end. You are stuck. And the only way out is to question what you think you know.

The more you question, the more you realize that the only answer that makes any sense is to keep questioning. When you stop questioning the journey for truth comes to an end and stagnation, sloth, and dogmatism begin to rule your world. Keep things in perspective by accepting that you know less than you think you do and keep questioning.

10.) Your life is terribly inconsequential:

“Don’t slip on the banana peel of nihilism, even while listening to the roar of Nothingness.” ~Lawrence Ferlinghetti

When it comes down to it, your life is a flash in the pan. It’s dust in the cosmic wind. It’s an infinitesimally insignificant spark in an unfathomably dark, unforgiving, and meaningless universe. But it is a spark.

What you do won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But it’s very important that you do it anyway. Why? Because you are the universe attempting to become aware of itself. You are an awareness machine in an otherwise unaware cosmos. You are a meaning-generator in a reality void of meaning. You might be nothing more than a speck in the universe, but you are also the entire universe in a speck.

Either way, you will one day be dust. Your tiny insignificant life will end. Face that fleetingness with a fierceness. Laugh into the abyss. Face fear with fearlessness. Climb the highest mountain and kick God in the nuts. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Or not. None of it will matter in the end. You will still be the butt-end of the cosmic joke. It’s all laughable. So you might as well have a laugh.

Gary Z McGee, Self-inflicted Philosophy, republished here with permission.

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Consciousness

Physicists Suggest All Matter Could Be Made Up of Energy ‘Fragments’

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Matter is what makes up the Universe, but what makes up matter? This question has long been tricky for those who think about it – especially for the physicists.

Reflecting recent trends in physics, my colleague Jeffrey Eischen and I have described an updated way to think about matter. We propose that matter is not made of particles or waves, as was long thought, but – more fundamentally – that matter is made of fragments of energy.

From Five to One

The ancient Greeks conceived of five building blocks of matter – from bottom to top: earth, water, air, fire and aether. Aether was the matter that filled the heavens and explained the rotation of the stars, as observed from the Earth vantage point.

These were the first most basic elements from which one could build up a world. Their conceptions of the physical elements did not change dramatically for nearly 2,000 years.

Then, about 300 years ago, Sir Isaac Newton introduced the idea that all matter exists at points called particles. One hundred fifty years after that, James Clerk Maxwell introduced the electromagnetic wave – the underlying and often invisible form of magnetism, electricity and light.

The particle served as the building block for mechanics and the wave for electromagnetism – and the public settled on the particle and the wave as the two building blocks of matter. Together, the particles and waves became the building blocks of all kinds of matter.

This was a vast improvement over the ancient Greeks’ five elements but was still flawed. In a famous series of experiments, known as the double-slit experiments, light sometimes acts like a particle and at other times acts like a wave. And while the theories and math of waves and particles allow scientists to make incredibly accurate predictions about the Universe, the rules break down at the largest and tiniest scales.

Einstein proposed a remedy in his theory of general relativity. Using the mathematical tools available to him at the time, Einstein was able to better explain certain physical phenomena and also resolve a longstanding paradox relating to inertia and gravity.

But instead of improving on particles or waves, he eliminated them as he proposed the warping of space and time.

Using newer mathematical tools, my colleague and I have demonstrated a new theory that may accurately describe the Universe. Instead of basing the theory on the warping of space and time, we considered that there could be a building block that is more fundamental than the particle and the wave.

Scientists understand that particles and waves are existential opposites: A particle is a source of matter that exists at a single point, and waves exist everywhere except at the points that create them.

My colleague and I thought it made logical sense for there to be an underlying connection between them.

Flow and Fragments of Energy

Our theory begins with a new fundamental idea – that energy always “flows” through regions of space and time.

Think of energy as made up of lines that fill up a region of space and time, flowing into and out of that region, never beginning, never ending and never crossing one another.

Working from the idea of a universe of flowing energy lines, we looked for a single building block for the flowing energy. If we could find and define such a thing, we hoped we could use it to accurately make predictions about the Universe at the largest and tiniest scales.

There were many building blocks to choose from mathematically, but we sought one that had the features of both the particle and wave – concentrated like the particle but also spread out over space and time like the wave.

The answer was a building block that looks like a concentration of energy – kind of like a star – having energy that is highest at the center, and that gets smaller farther away from the center.

Much to our surprise, we discovered that there were only a limited number of ways to describe a concentration of energy that flows. Of those, we found just one that works in accordance with our mathematical definition of flow.

We named it a fragment of energy. For the math and physics aficionados, it is defined as A = -⍺/r where ⍺ is intensity and r is the distance function.

Using the fragment of energy as a building block of matter, we then constructed the math necessary to solve physics problems. The final step was to test it out.

Back to Einstein, Adding Universality

More than 100 ago, Einstein had turned to two legendary problems in physics to validate general relativity: the ever-so-slight yearly shift – or precession – in Mercury’s orbit, and the tiny bending of light as it passes the Sun.

These problems were at the two extremes of the size spectrum. Neither wave nor particle theories of matter could solve them, but general relativity did.

The theory of general relativity warped space and time in such way as to cause the trajectory of Mercury to shift and light to bend in precisely the amounts seen in astronomical observations.

If our new theory was to have a chance at replacing the particle and the wave with the presumably more fundamental fragment, we would have to be able to solve these problems with our theory, too.

For the precession-of-Mercury problem, we modeled the Sun as an enormous stationary fragment of energy and Mercury as a smaller but still enormous slow-moving fragment of energy. For the bending-of-light problem, the Sun was modeled the same way, but the photon was modeled as a minuscule fragment of energy moving at the speed of light.

In both problems, we calculated the trajectories of the moving fragments and got the same answers as those predicted by the theory of general relativity. We were stunned.

Our initial work demonstrated how a new building block is capable of accurately modeling bodies from the enormous to the minuscule. Where particles and waves break down, the fragment of energy building block held strong.

The fragment could be a single potentially universal building block from which to model reality mathematically – and update the way people think about the building blocks of the Universe.

Republished from TheConversation.com under Creative Commons

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Consciousness

Neuroscientist Claims That Consciousness Itself Is Its Own Energy Field

Justin MacLachlan

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A neuroscientist has suggested in a new theory that our consciousness is derived from a field of electromagnetic waves given off by neurons.

The study published last month in the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness is entirely based off a theory absent of tangible evidence. However, the author of the research Johnjoe McFadden said that his hypothesis could offer a way forward for robots that think and feel emotions.

McFadden believes that neuron waves of electrical activity get sent out and as they propagate across the brain, they help compose our entire conscious experience.

Johnjoe McFadden, is a molecular geneticist and director of quantum biology at the University of Surrey. McFadden points to flaws in other models of consciousness as the reason that we don’t have sentient artificial intelligence or robots capable of achieving consciousness.

McFadden’s hypothesis swerves away from most traditional neuroscientists, who generally see consciousness as a narrative that our brain constructs out of our senses, perceptions, and actions. Instead, McFadden returns to a more empirical version of dualism — the idea that consciousness stems from something other than our brain matter.

McFadden’s theory adapts the idea of “dualism,” which is the belief that consciousness is a supernatural force. Dualism has long been rejected by scientists and ruled pseudo-science, but McFadden has attempted to apply a scientific explanation for the idea, which hasn’t been done before.

Neuroscience news reports that the theory is based on scientific fact:

“The theory is based on scientific fact: when neurons in the brain and nervous system fire, they not only send the familiar electrical signal down the wire-like nerve fibres, but they also send a pulse of electromagnetic energy into the surrounding tissue. Such energy is usually disregarded, yet it carries the same information as nerve firings, but as an immaterial wave of energy, rather than a flow of atoms in and out of the nerves.”

It’s also a fact we have an electromagnetic field surrounding our brain is well-known and is detected by brain-scanning techniques such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) but has previously been dismissed as irrelevant to brain function and supernatural. Instead, McFadden contends that the brain’s information-rich electromagnetic field is, in fact, itself the seat of consciousness, driving the ‘free will’ of an individual.

“How brain matter becomes aware and manages to think is a mystery that has been pondered by philosophers, theologians, mystics and ordinary people for millennia,” McFadden said in a press release published by Medical Xpress. “I believe this mystery has now been solved, and that consciousness is the experience of nerves plugging into the brain’s self-generated electromagnetic field to drive what we call ‘free will’ and our voluntary actions.”

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